Ajla Del Ponte: Swiss Sprinter, European Indoor Champion 2021 in 60 m Talks About Her Workout, Diet, Beauty Secrets and Her Success Story 

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Ajla Del Ponte
Ajla Del Ponte

Ajla Del Ponte is a Swiss sprinter. She competed in the women’s 4 × 100 meters relay event at the 2016 Summer Olympics and at the 2017 World Championships in London. She won the women’s 60 meters at the 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships, doing so in a world leading time and equaling the Swiss record of 7.03 seconds. At the 2020 Summer Olympics she set a new national record for the 100 meters running 10.91 in the heats. On 14 August, she shaved a hundredth of a second off of her record, achieving a time of 10.90 at the 2021 Resisprint International.

Women’s athletics: Medals Record: Representing Switzerland

European Indoor Championships 2021
Gold medal Toruń, Poland 60 m

European U23 Championships 2017
Bronze Medal Bydgoszcz, Poland 4 × 100 m relay

Universiade 2019
Silver Medal Naples, Italy 100 m
Gold Medal 4 × 100 m relay

Women Fitness President Ms. Namita Nayyar catches up with Ajla Del Ponte is a Swiss sprinter, European Indoor Champion 2021 in 60 meters here she talks about her workout, diet, hair care, skincare routine and her success story.

Namita Nayyar:

You were born in Locarno, Switzerland. You must have been into athletics early in your life. In 2014 you competed in the World Junior Championships at Eugene, United States. In 2017 you won bronze at European U23 Championships held at Bydgoszcz, Poland in 4 × 100 m relay. This later propelled your career to the height where you have been at the top of the world as an athlete competing in sprinting events. Tell us more about your professional journey of exceptionally hard work, tenacity, and endurance?

Ajla Del Ponte:

As a professional athlete you learn what discipline and sacrifices are. It’s not always easy, but when I look back at my achievements, I realize how this all is worth it. From being a 13-year-old that started track and field for fun, to the struggles of a girl that couldn’t see her family and friends a lot, to a young woman that knows where she wants to go. Sport shaped me into what I am today and I’m very grateful for it.

Namita Nayyar:

In the 2019 Universiade at Naples, Italy you won Silver medal in100 m and Gold Medal in the 4 × 100 m relay event. Tell us how you were drawn to this sport of athletics competing in sprinting events and your meteoric rise in the 100 m and 4 × 100 m relay event?

Ajla Del Ponte:

I grew up in a very small village in the Swiss mountains called Bignasco. I played outside every day and I stared my sporting career by doing some figure skating, then I did some volleyball and unihockey. I came to track and field by chance, after a competition we had at school when I was 13. My mother saw that I was quite good at it and suggested me to try. I fell in love with the sports. From there on, the road to professionalism was progressive. I wasn’t the big talent that everyone was looking carefully to, I was just doing my thing as a junior and having fun.

In 2016, when I had to take the decision on which university I wanted to subscribe to, I looked into my options. Laurent Meuwly, my coach, was based in Lausanne, so I went there. And in 2019, when he left for a job in the Netherlands, I followed him. This came with sacrifices to make but I knew he was the man that could bring me to success. And that came in 2020 and 2021 with my very first big successes in the individual.

Namita Nayyar:

You won a Gold Medal in the 2021 European Indoor Championships at Toruń, Poland in the 60 m event in 7.03 second? Tell us more about this exceptional achievement of yours?

Ajla Del Ponte:

The year 2021 has been an extremely good year for me. And the starting point of it has been my victory in Torun. Coming in Poland I knew I had a shot at medals, but I wanted the shiny golden one. People were expecting things from me and for the first time I was confronted with this new position, where you have a new type of pressure on you. Getting the title, running a national record and the world lead over the distance in the same race has made a big impact on me. After Toruń I found in me a very new motivation going into summer and leading to the Olympics. I knew I was capable of running sub 11 and in my diary I wrote down “I can run 10.90”.

Namita Nayyar:

At the 2020 Summer Olympics you set a new national record for the 100 meters running 10.91 in the heats. On 14 August 2021 you shaved a hundredth of a second off of your record, achieving a time of 10.90 at the 2021 Resisprint International. What is your opinion are the traits in an athlete to be consistently successful as a world-class sprinter?

Ajla Del Ponte:

Consistency is very difficult to find. The 100m is extremely technical and one mistake could potentially be the end of your race. It’s just too short to leave any room to mistakes. Keeping that in mind, as an athlete we must be ready when we are at the starting line: being healthy in body and mind is crucial for a successful career. What was inspiring for me in women sprint this year is that the general performance level was insane. We’ve seen some very fast races and that is giving everyone some extra motivation to do better, be faster.

Namita Nayyar:

What exercises comprise your fitness regime or workout routine you may wish to share?

Ajla Del Ponte:

I enjoy our strength training a lot. We have a specific strength workout during winter that is perfect for glutes and hamstrings (sprinters need to have strong ones). In this circuit we have single leg squats. All you need is a bench, you hold a weight close to your chest (I usually use a dumbbell> 10kg), you keep one leg away from the ground and you go sit down slowly and up again. Do this 3-5 sets of 15 reps for each leg and combine it with other exercises. Maybe you’ll hate me at first, but I promise it’s worth it.

Namita Nayyar:

Tell us your training schedule to boost one’s immunity and practice for sprint races in such pandemic times?

Ajla Del Ponte:

The past year and a half we could really understand how primordial health is. At the core of it we have a balanced diet, but we also need to move our body. A strong body is a happy body, I really encourage everyone to go out, have a hike or a run. Gyms are also great. Also, the hormones such as dopamine and serotonin that are released after the physical effort make us happy: a happy body is a healthier body. As for my happy body, I am the happiest after a sprint endurance practice, for example 3x3x60m with 2’ rest (10’ between sets).

Namita Nayyar:

How do you train your abs? One secret to your toned body.

Ajla Del Ponte:

I get easily bored with abs, so I really enjoy when we do it with our training group and each one of us picks an exercise. If I’m alone, I like to add some challenge. Swiss balls, weights, bands are more than welcome. I have a look to Pamela Reif’s videos on YouTube or I peek on what other athletes do on Instagram, then I make mine some of their ideas.

Namita Nayyar:

Do you take a special diet or have a strict menu that you follow to remain healthy and physically fit?

Ajla Del Ponte:

I try to give my body all the nutriments it needs for the kind of life I do. The quality of the products I buy is very important for me and I try to eat local as much as I can for ecological reasons. Other than that, I don’t have any particular diet and I try to keep my menu range as large as possible.

Namita Nayyar:

Five foods you absolutely love and five you keep to a minimum.

Ajla Del Ponte:

Top five: fruits (all of them!), chicken, pita (Bosnian dish), risotto and pancakes.

Tricky five: chips, chocolate, fast food, diary and alcohol.

Namita Nayyar:

Share with us your hair care and skincare routine.

Ajla Del Ponte:

I like to stick to natural and nature friendly products, for this reason I’m often at Lush. For both my hair and skin I noticed how hydration and moisture are important, especially being often outside, under the sun and sweating at practice (always use sunscreen!). For my hair I noticed that sea water is very good, so I use a shampoo with sea salt in it, and as for my skincare routine I am a big fan of creams containing aloe vera.

Namita Nayyar:

Five athletic leisure brands you love to wear.

Ajla Del Ponte:

I only love one: Puma. I am a proud member of the Puma family, which is generally bright, fun and modern as the product they are creating for the costumers. And I mean, one of the slogans is “Only See Great”, how not to love this kind of motivation.

Ajla Del Ponte of Switzerland, front, wins the 100 meter race, at the Citius Meeting in the Athletics stadium Wankdorf in Bern, Switzerland, Friday, July 24, 2019. (KEYSTONE/Peter Klaunzer)

Namita Nayyar:

Five travel destinations on your wish list.

Ajla Del Ponte:

Australia, Ireland, Egypt, India and Cuba.

Namita Nayyar:

Advice and motivational words to the inspiring and budding sprinters, who all are your fans and shall like to know from you for their climb to the ladder of success in the field of sprinting?

Ajla Del Ponte:

Each one of us has a different path on their way up. There is no need to compare with others, keep the focus on what you can do and what you can control. As someone once said, “They said I would never make it, but I was built to break the mold”. You got this.

Namita Nayyar:

A message for your Instagram followers.

Ajla Del Ponte:

Hey there! Big thank you for your support and for following my journey. I’m very excited to share the next adventures with you all.

Namita Nayyar:

What do you wish to say about the website Womenfitness.net and the message for its visitors?

Ajla Del Ponte:

I’m all in for women empowerment. Girls run the world and I find it wonderful that we have such a platform to share experience, be inspired and empowered.

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